Losing belly fat is one of the most discussed topics in today’s time. The obesity rate in the US is 42.4% which is now a growing concern than ever before. It is not just about the sudden denial of your closet clothes to fit you, and the self-conscious feeling at all times but is also about the serious health concerns it brings with it. Type-2 diabetes, heart diseases are just a few to name among many. Losing belly fat is a common weight loss goal and is seen as many people’s New Year resolutions. With the holiday’s session followed by the New Year just around the corner, maybe it is the time of the year to make this resolution yet once again.
What Causes Belly Fat?
The equation is simple. When you are not burning off the calories you intake, those are getting stored in different parts of the body as fat. This is the way the body is storing energy for future usage, which unfortunately is never used. Many types of fat are found in our bodies. The top six of them include essential fat, subcutaneous fat, brown fat, beige fat, white fat, and visceral fat. Visceral fat is found accumulated in the abdominal area against the main organs like lungs, heart, or liver causing various health issues.
Now let’s talk about the way out of this mess. The journey is not easy but also nothing impossible or unachievable. It takes a lot of dedication and sacrifice, to begin with, but the most important of all is proper guidance. Some people would do anything to shred a few pounds or lose a few inches but no matter how much effort they put into it, the result is not satisfactory or as per their expectation in terms of their efforts.
First of all, we have to get over the misconception that you can target one part of the body and shred off the excess fat. No matter how many crunches you do to develop those abs like a Greek god, the only gain is back pain and injuries.
Now let’s talk about the correct workout routine for someone determined to burn those fats off.
- Freehand Workouts: As the name suggests, these kinds of exercises can be performed without any accessories and are the best for beginners. To put it simply, these workouts are just repetitions of normal muscle movements and hence there are lower chances of injury and higher potential of developing muscle and joint strength. Some of the most crucial and effective freehand workouts are jumping jacks for overall body warm-up, free squats to strengthen legs and core muscles, push-ups to reduce chest fat and increase the upper body muscle strength, and the magic workout called plank which not only increases core muscle strength, targets belly fat and improves posture but also reduces any chance of back injuries. PS: Sit-ups are not the best exercise to reduce belly fat. The workout is designed to tone the abs muscles but if done incorrectly, causes back injuries.
- Cardio: These exercises focus on getting the heart rate high and keeping it high for quite some time. The breathing also increases and blood vessels expand to carry more oxygen to all parts of the body.
There are several benefits to this workout routine. Your heart health improves, helps with weight loss, and also cures depression which is also a major concern in these times. And all you have to do is contribute 150 minutes a week and be consistent about it. Jumping rope is one of the best options while running, cycling, swimming, brisk walking, and even dancing are the options you have to choose from.
- Weight Training: This focuses on the growing strength and size of skeletal muscle. Once there is an external force hindering the normal movement and the extra force we need to put in to complete the repetition, the dedicated muscle group gets worked upon and is heated up. This takes a lot of extra energy and hence burns a lot more calories. A medium-weight workout aiming at a superior muscle group such as weight squats for thigh and leg muscles, deadlift for core and back muscles, and bench press for chest and most of the upper body muscles can help reduce not only the fat from the targeted area but also the saturated belly fat.
- Resistance Workouts: The five basics of resistance workouts are push, pull, squat, hinge, and core work. As the name suggests, the idea is to resist free movement which will burn more calories than usual. Different machinery in the gym, aerobic balls, resistance bands are a few accessories to aid these types of workouts.
But is Working out Alone Enough to Reduce Belly Fat?
The answer sadly is ‘No’. It is a common proverb that abs are made in the kitchen. So we now have to focus on what we are putting into the body because burning them off isn’t enough. Giving up on those delicious cheesy hamburgers is such a pain. But all we have to keep in mind is ‘No Pain No Gain’.
Here are a few diet tips to keep those fats away and have a healthy life:
- Including the Right Amount of Soluble Fiber in our Diets – Soluble fiber absorbs water and slows down the food from passing through the digestive system. This makes you feel full which results in you eating less. Some excellent sources of soluble fiber are avocado, flaxseed, legumes, and blackberries. Include them in your breakfast and you will stay full for most of your day.
- Reduce the Intake of Trans Fat – This fat is the cause of insulin resistance, heart disease, and belly fat. Intake of any kind of packaged food introduces trans fat to your body. So you should always check the ingredients list on the food packet and avoid trans fat at all costs.
- Eating a High Protein Diet – High protein intake has a lot of health benefits like increasing metabolism, gaining muscle mass, and most importantly, making you feel full which results in decreased appetite. Some great sources of protein are meat, fish, egg, and dairy products.
- Decrease Sugar and Sugar-Sweetened Beverages – This kind of food and sugar in itself contains fructose which causes a lot of chronic diseases like fatty liver, type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, and obesity. Honey and jaggery can be used as alternatives to refined sugar.
Having said the above, we also have to focus on an overall healthy lifestyle. Drink plenty of water, ensure that you get 8 hours of sound sleep, have your stress levels in check, grab a cup of green tea whenever you get the chance instead of fructose filled fruit juice, and most importantly, practice intermittent fasting which is proved to be a promising way of getting rid of the belly fat within 6-24 weeks. It is a simple way of fasting twice a week or eating for 8 hours every day and fasting for the next 16 hours.
Ensuring you are including any of the above in your daily routine is going to show a huge impact in the long run. If you want faster results, just combine a few of the options and see the magic happen. Changing and staying true to the lifestyle for the long run will ensure reduction and keep away the extra inches off your belly.